Look forward to expanding ties, Xi tells Trump

Beijing, Nov 9 (IANS) Chinese President Xi Jinping on Wednesday congratulated Republican Donald Trump on being elected as the 45th President of the US and hoped that two leaders would work together to expand bilateral ties.

In his message, Xi said both the countries have the special responsibility of maintaining world peace and stability and boosting global development.

“I highly value the relations between China and the United States, and I am looking forward to working together with you to expand China-US cooperation in every field, at the bilateral, regional and global levels, on the basis of the principles of non-conflict, non-confrontation, mutual respect and win-win cooperation, with differences controlled in a constructive manner, so as to push China-US relations further forward from a new starting point, better benefiting the peoples of the two countries and other countries,” he said, according to Xinhua news agency.

To develop a long-term, healthy and stable China-US relationship is in line with the fundamental interests of the peoples of the two countries as well as the general expectations of the global community, Xi said.

Earlier in the day, China’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson Lu Kang said Beijing was ready to work with the new US government.

The ties between the top two economies of the world have taken a hit over various issues like the South China Sea and THAAD deployment in South Korea.

Despite being a China-basher, Trump has been preferred by Beijing over his Democratic rival Hillary Clinton who in the past has angered the Chinese over various issues ranging from human rights to the South China Sea dispute.

The volatile Trump, who accused China of “raping” the US in trade and threatened to levy 45 percent tax on Chinese products, is said to be more suitable to Beijing because of his inexperience.

However, experts find it difficult to predict how the relationship between the world’s two largest economies would unfold.

“I have had Chinese who have told me that they are quite happy with the result because they think Clinton did not fit their ideal type of president,” Christopher K. Colley, an expert on Sino-US ties, told IANS.

“With Clinton, they had a much better idea what they are getting. She was much more traditional. She was (US) Secretary of State,” said Colley of the Indiana University.

“There are a lot of question marks. We don’t even know who he would have as Secretary of Defense or Secretary of State. In the next couple of weeks, we will get some better idea of the transition of candidate Trump to President Trump,” Colley said.

“I would argue that Trump is quite unknown. We don’t know which direction he is going to take. It is difficult to predict what way the Sino-US would go,” he said.

(Gaurav Sharma is the Beijing-based correspondent for IANS. He can be contacted at sharmagaurav71@gmail.com and gauravians@yahoo.com)